Zhirkov moves to midfield for Chelsea

Zhirkov moves to midfield for Chelsea

Chelsea wing-back Yury Zhirkov has been handed the midfield slot vacated by the injured Ramires against Spartak Moscow in today's Champions League Group F clash in the Luzhniki Stadium.

Midfielder Michael Essien and left-back Ashley Cole both start despite speculation they could be left out because the artificial surface could have affected injuries they collected last season.

Striker Salomon Kalou makes his return from injury, replacing Gael Kakuta. Chelsea’s bench comprises of teenagers, apart from Patrick Van Aanholt, who is 20.

Spartak, who have lost playmaker Alex through injury, have moved Ari further forward to play behind lone striker Welliton and have brought in Ibson in as one of the two holding midfielders.

Republic of Ireland winger Aiden McGeady also features for Spartak Moscow.

Spartak Moscow: Dikan, Parshivlyuk, Pareja, Suchy, Makeev, McGeady, Ibson, Shyeshukov, Dmitri Kombarov, Ari, Welliton.

Subs: Pesyakov, Maidana, Stranzl, Sabitov, Ivanov, Ananidze, Kozlov.

Chelsea: Cech, Ferreira, Ivanovic, Terry, Cole, Essien, Mikel, Zhirkov, Kalou, Anelka, Malouda.

Subs: Turnbull, Van Aanholt, Bruma, Kakuta, McEachran, Clifford, Mellis.

Referee: Carlos Velasco Carballo (Spain).

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